Welcome to Dead Lake.
I was so excited that high school was over, and I was finally free. I could go where I wanted and do what I wanted… there was no stopping me.
The trees rushed past as we picked up speed down the winding mountain road.
Steph laughed from the back seat of the old red bronco. I turned to smile at her and my eyes settled on her white teeth beaming past her thin pink lips. She had been my friend since we were kids. Our mothers worked as teachers together in middle school, which was embarrassing but brought her and I together. She ran her long fingers through her hair as the wind whipped it in every direction.
“Welcome to Dead Lake!” Mandy squealed slamming on the breaks.
“f**k!” I threw my hands on the dash.
“Come on Tally!” Steph exclaimed pressing her knees into the back of my seat.
I yanked the seat belt off me and jumped out of the truck. Steph flew out of the back seat and at the same time we gasped.
“The air b&b ad did not do this justice!” Mandy grabbed my hand and squeezed it.
Mandy had long blonde hair pulled into a loose ponytail that her baby hair could not quite be a part of.
These were my girls and we could take on the world, for standing in front of us was a 3000 square foot lake house that was all ours for the summer, tall vines creeped around the corners of the wooden monster giving it a ‘secret window’ vibe, a nice graduation gift from daddy dearest.
“Grab the bags bitches!” Steph cried and headed towards the stairs.
I threw my bag on the bed and began pawing at my hair in the mirror above the vanity. Jesus was it ever frizzy. The wet mountain air made it sticky and… big. I frowned disapprovingly. The bright pot lights above me flickered twice.
“Great” I grumbled and grabbed the chair pushed against the wall.
Reaching up I twisted the covering off the light and tossed it onto the bed. The light flickered again as I wrapped my hand around the base and turned it slightly.
“Taaalllly you did this” a voice whispered from somewhere in the room startling me. I panicked and kicked the chair out from under me.
I screamed grabbing the lightbulb to keep my balance. The ball of fresh hell burned into my palms. I let out another scream as I crashed into the hardwood. The last thing I saw was the closet door slowly close as the world went dark.
Mandy was yanking her dress over her head when she heard the crash upstairs.
“Oh god are you ok?” she called the dress still wrapped around her face, “Hello, guys?!”.
She pulled it back down and quickly ran for the door. She grabbed the knob, but it failed to turn. She pulled and pulled but the thing would not budge.
“I’m stuck in my room!” She screamed “Steph… TALLY!”.
For some reason, the mixture of fear and frustration was to much. Tears began welling in her eyes.
“Mandy?” Steph called from behind the door.
“Oh, thank god I’m stuck in my room and I heard a loud crash upstairs from Tallys room, you have to go check on her!” She sobbed softly feeling stupid for getting so overwhelmed.
“Please stay calm, this cabin is very old and I’m sure the wood is swollen from the moisture” Steph said pushing on the other side of the door. “I am going to get Tally and we will help you get out ok?”.
Mandy backed away from the door and rubbed her eye with her palm.
“Please hurry” She said breathing deeply to calm her heart. She heard the footsteps rushing away from the door.
Mandy took one more deep breath. She felt stupid getting so worked up over something so small and stupid as a sticky door. She turned towards the big window overlooking the lake. Things that happened in her childhood had made her weak and scared. Her mind traveled to her father. When her mom was away, he would dress her up in pink with beautiful big flowers. He asked her to dance then would spin her till her stomach hurt. “My pretty girl” he said caressing her cheek and fiddling with the lace on her dress. Then when she did not want to dance with her daddy anymore, he would turn. He would yell and force her into the basement. She screamed and cried but he only let her out when she stopped. He promised not to do it again, but it was never long till the next time he came into her room and pawed at her clothes finally landing on the pink dress with the big flowers.
Mandy violently shook her head breaking apart the memory of her father. Her eyes scanned the windowsill looking for a latch. They were on the first floor; she could easily climb out. Steph yelled from upstairs startling Mandy. She found the latch and pushed it open forcing the window away from the dust and cobb webs.
Mandy straddled the sill, and dropped into the bushes. She jumped up and caught a reflection with her eye that made her wince. The sun was setting and pouring white rays onto the lake that reflected onto the side of the cabin and in turn directly into her eyes.
She placed her hand on her forehead and started to walk around the side of the house when something stopped her.
“My pretty girl” a low voice came from the direction of the lake.
“Mmmm…” Mandy started “… Nope I’m just hearing things”. She dusted off her dress and ran around to the front door. She swore she could still hear the low voice calling behind her.
Steph flew up the stairs calling Tallys name. The hallway was barely lit as she fumbled towards the door. Pushing the door open she saw Tally sprawled on the ground, blood pooling under her.
“OH MY GOD” she screamed, her hands flying to her mouth.
Her knees hit the floor as she grabbed the limp body.
“Please wake up” she trembled flipping her over. A large gash covered Tally palm. That seemed to be the cause of all the blood.
“Tally wake up!” she cried holding her wrist trying to stop the bleeding.
A large purple bump was forming on her forehead. Steph scanned the shadowy room trying to piece together the disaster. Her eyes found the bloody shards of lightbulb. She looked up to see the dripping sharp knub above them”.
“Okay what the f**k, TALLY WAKE UP” she exclaimed.
Tally groaned slightly and slowly opened her eyes.
All I saw was stars at first then slowly the world began to come back. Step was a few inches away from my face breathing heavily, her fingers digging into my wrist and shoulder.
“Ow, get off” I moaned pulling my hand away from her and tucking it into my waist. It burned as the memory of what happened came back.
My eyes snapped open as I shot up.
“There’s someone in my closet” I whispered pointing at the closed door and began pushing my body towards the bed.
“Uhm… what?” Stephs face became a mask of terror as she crawled towards me, both of us keeping our eyes trained on the door.
“What do you mean?” She whispered wrapping her arms around me and again breathed directly onto my face.
“Steph get off me” I growled trying to shrug her away and keep my hand pressed against my body.
“AHHHHHHHH!” The girls screamed as Mandy burst through the door, her dress covered in leaves and dirt.
“What is going on?!” she cried.
“SHHHHHH!” I put my finger on my lips and gestured towards the closet door.
“Someone broke in and cut Tallys hand open, then threw her onto the ground and hid in the closet!” Steph whimpered squeezing the life out of me.
I blinked and flipped my head towards Steph, “No… that’s definitely not what…” before I could finish my sentence Mandy was across the room opening the door.
“NO!” We screamed.
I exhaled deeply staring at the closet. Not even a hanger, just a big empty space. Mandy flipped the switch and the yellow light poured over the it, further solidifying that there was definitely no one in there.